The Endocrine Cancers Program offers evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and pancreas. It is one of the largest multidisciplinary endocrine cancer programs in the country and cares for over 1,000 patients each year.
Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. It begins as a tumor that develops in the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat. The thyroid produces hormones that help the body function normally. Thyroid nodules are common, and while more than 95 percent of thyroid tumors are not cancerous, there is a tremendous advantage to being evaluated and treated by experts in endocrine diseases. The preferred method for our physicians to evaluate a nodule is through a fine-needle aspiration biopsy. This procedure may be performed during a clinic visit. When cancer is suspected to be in a nodule, surgery is recommended.
Yale-New Haven Hospital's Endocrine Surgery program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons. The program serves as a respected training ground for the best and brightest general surgeons, and includes a fellowship in collaboration with the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.
Thyroid cancer can be divided into the well-differentiated types (papillary and follicular), medullary thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The most common are the well-differentiated forms, which generally have an excellent prognosis. Typically, they are treated with a combination of surgery, radioactive iodine, and thyroid suppression. The less common types of thyroid cancer can be very aggressive. Specialized thyroid surgical expertise is essential for management of all thyroid cancers.
The Endocrine Cancers Program collaborates closely with the Yale Cancer Center Genetic Counseling Program to screen and evaluate patients who may have hereditary thyroid cancer. In addition, clinical trials testing new therapies and treatment options are offered to patients with medullary or anaplastic thyroid cancer.